News and Events


June 22, 2024: Postdoctoral Position in GenAI Anthropology

The AI Institutional Transformation Research Group at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, invites applications for a 2-year postdoctoral researcher position specializing in digital anthropology focusing on Generative AI (GenAI) technologies.

Details available here.

Paperwork and procedural information available here.

We invite you to submit your application the Research Administration Office at (cc: Application deadline: July 22, 2024.

We look forward to receiving your application and discussing how your expertise can contribute to our research efforts in digital anthropology and GenAI!

June 9, 2024: Will AI Take Our Jobs?

Jitka Špeciánová presented at the European Festival of Philosophy in Velké Meziříčí, held from June 4 to June 12, 2024. Her talk "Artificial Intelligence in Labor Markets: Threat or Opportunity?" discussed one of today's most important questions: Can new technologies and artificial intelligence take our jobs?

The lecture explored various potential developments and distinguishing between scenarios that only appear threatening at first glance and those that pose real risks. Jitka's main message was optimistic: although we face challenges, human creativity and innovation are powerful tools that can get us out of any difficult situation and whose potential is far from exhausted. While some current jobs will disappear, new ones will emerge.

June 7-8, 2024: Conference Talk on Work in the Digital Age

Karina Zamrazilová participated in the Third Doctoral Students’ International Conference, held on June 7 and 8, 2024, at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, with her presentation on the topic "Work in the Digital Age: Utilization of AI Language Generators by Junior Doctors." In her ongoing research, she focuses on how Junior Doctors from the Czech Republic and Germany utilize various chatbots to assist with administrative tasks and even to aid in diagnostics. This is performed in a "grey area" since using chatbots in medical practice is prohibited by European laws. She approaches her research from the perspective of medical anthropology and employs ethnomethodological interviews for data collection.

February - May, 2024: Workshops Enhancing Academic Skills at the Faculty of Humanities

Over the spring semester, Martin Dolský led a series of workshops focused on the effective as well as critically-minded use of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) tools such as ChatGPT, Claude or Bard. Six session in total provided participating students from the Faculty of Humanities at the Charles University with practical knowledge and hands-on experience aimed at improving their academic performance. The workshops began with principles of effective human-machine communication and went on to explore how GenAI tools can be used to aid in various academic activities such as reading and interpreting text, developing one’s arguments, researching relevant sources, planning research projects or preparing for exams. In addition to contributing to the participants’ technological proficiency, the initiative fostered reflection and critical discussion on the ethical as well as pragmatic implications of AI use in academia.

May 17, 2024: May 17, 2024: Podcast Zákulisí sociologie (Behind the Scenes of Sociology)

Martin Buchtík and Klára Zajíčková from STEM Institute for Empirical Research invited Petr Špecián to talk about LLM chatbots, their use cases in social scientific research, and our reasearch group. You may listen to the podcast here (in Czech). 

April 8, 2024: An interview about life, democracy, and AI

Alena Ivanova has interviewed Petr about his research and views on democracy in the digital age and the expected impacts of artificial intelligence. You can find the interview here (in Czech). 

Here is how Claude 3 summarises the content:

Petr Špecián, founder of the AI Institutional Transformation Research Group, says his career trajectory changed forever after attending philosophy lectures by chance while studying international trade. His research now focuses on how institutions adapt to new technologies like large language models and their practical applications, as well as the relationship between democracy and expertise in the digital age.

Špecián notes that technological development is moving extremely rapidly compared to institutions, which adapt more slowly, creating tension. He says liberal democracy developed stably when mass media was the broadly shared information source, but the proliferation of decentralized information sources today makes it harder for people to agree on a shared reality, putting pressure on democracies.

On whether AI benefits or threatens democracy, Špecián sees a range of possible scenarios, from finding new norms leading to better democracy, to AI enabling authoritarianism or chronic stagnation. He emphasizes that AI is not value-neutral, as the corporations developing it imbue it with progressive values not everyone shares.

Špecián is interested in whether elected representatives could use AI chatbots to replace expert advisors and better ensure democratic values shape collective decisions. While AI still "hallucinates" false information, he sees good prospects for improvement. He believes people will adapt to AI-generated disinformation, though it's unclear if solutions will be centralized or decentralized.

Overall, Špecián advocates for personal experience using advanced AI systems to understand their powerful capabilities. He appreciates experimentation with alternatives to standard approaches, like replacing bachelor's theses, in the face of revolutionary technological change.

April 3, 2024: GenAI Worshop for České priority

Petr Špecián and Martin Dolský have organized a worshop for the Czech thinktank České priority. They presented and discussed with the participant the current capabilites of large language models and some of their important use cases in analytical and academic work.

April 2, 2024: New Publication by Petr Špecián and Lucy Císař Brown

Petr Špecián and Lucy Císař Brown have published a short paper "Give the machine a chance, human experts ain't that great…" in the prestigious AI & SOCIETY journal. See here.

They argue that despite their flaws, large language models (LLMs) deserve a fair chance to prove their mettle against human experts, who are often plagued with biases, conflicts of interest, and other frailties. For epistemically unprivileged laypeople struggling to access expert knowledge, the accessibility advantages of LLMs could prove crucial. While concerns about LLMs' inconsistencies and arguments for human superiority are often justified (for now), they may distract from the urgent need to prepare for the likely scenario of LLMs' continued ascent. Experimentation with both the capabilities and institutional architecture of LLMs is necessary. As LLMs are here to stay and they keep improving, it is high time we started thinking about how to navigate the impending wave of their proliferation.

Nov 30Dec 1, 2023: Workshop on AI from the Perspective of Humanities and the Social Sciences

The upcoming International Workshop at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague, promises an enriching exploration of artificial intelligence through the lens of sociology and anthropology. Scheduled in two distinct blocks, the first, conducted in English, will feature insights from esteemed speakers like Robert Braun, Csaba Szaló, Werner Binder, Hedvika Novotná, and Martin Heřmanský, addressing topics from AI's role in the Anthropocene to digital ethnography's utility in AI studies. The second block, in Czech, will delve into AI's impact on humanities and social sciences education. Experts including Michaela Liegertová, Josef Šlerka, and Hana Kalivodová will cover AI's influence from the present to beyond a decade, offering a comprehensive view of AI's integration into various aspects of our lives and its potential future developments. This workshop is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for scholars and enthusiasts alike to engage with the multifaceted implications of AI.

November 16, 2023: Talk on "Sustaining People's Rule in the Digital Age"

Petr Špecián has presented a talk on "Reimagining Institutions through Generative AI" at the conference Meaning of Democracy organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences - Scientific Centre in Vienna, Austria.

Abstract: The talk focuses on the potential of using large language models (LLMs) as a means to strengthen democracy in the face of modern challenges. Petr argues that the integration of AI, specifically LLMs, into democratic processes can enhance collective intelligence and decision-making. LLMs, with their ability to process vast amounts of information and provide coherent responses, could surpass the limitations of human experts who are often constrained by scarcity of resources, conflicts of interest, and narrow focus. The proposed approach includes implementing institutional safeguards and starting with experimental use of LLM advisors in controlled environments to gather empirical evidence. The main message is optimistic, suggesting that the strategic use of AI can empower democracies to effectively manage contemporary issues and complexities.

November 30, 2023: FHS AI Day

Join us at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles Univesrity in examining artificial intelligence from the perspective of humanities and social sciences. The program includes a lecture on AI ethics, a workshop on using AI for research, a contest in generating AI art, a discussion hosted by a student association, and a series of short presentations mapping the impact of AI on society. Come discuss the future of the relationship between humans and technology. 

11:30 – 12:50 Soutěž v AI umění | AI Art Competition (CZ / ENG) 

13:00 – 14:20 Online workshop o etice umělé inteligence: Máme se bát AI? (CZ only) 

14:30 – 15:50 Workshop: AI in Social Sciences and Humanities Research (pouze anglicky) 

16:00 – 17:20 Diskusní hra (CZ only) 

17:30 – 19:30 FHS AI Talks: krátká vystoupení na téma AI a společnost | short talks on AI and Society (CZ | ENG) 

October 30, 2023: Talk on "Reimagining Institutions Through Generative AI"

Petr Špecián has presented a talk on "Reimagining Institutions through Generative AI" at Computing the Human Conference in Brno.

Abstract: As AI systems grow more advanced, new possibilities emerge to utilize their generative capabilities to reimagine our institutions. It is becoming possible to integrate technology with the social sciences to develop AI-powered capabilities for institutional innovation. My talk will focus on the intriguing possibility of constructing a collaborative digital sandbox where researchers could rapidly prototype and simulate the impacts of new institutional architectures. This virtual institutional laboratory—or playground—would provide a space to experiment with novel designs optimized to answer the 21st century’s challenges. Interdisciplinary teams of social scientists, computer scientists, and government innovators would co-create this platform and populate it with imaginative institutional alternatives to be tested and refined “in silico” before their real-world deployment. Thus, when carefully directed, AI’s generative power could help design new forms of social organization and governance fit for the digital age. 

September 16, 2023: Intensifying Our Social Media Presence

As our team is growing, so is our presence and activity on social media. You can now follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter / X and LinkedIn to keep up to date with the latest news from AI Transformation. Our new team member and communications manager Karina Zamrazilová has extensive and long-standing experience in marketing and science popularization. Do not hesitate to reach out if you want to get in touch or have something interesting to share!

September 1, 2023: New Team Members, Welcome!

We are thrilled to welcome our new team members, Lucy Císař Brown and Karina Zamrazilová, both of whom bring expertise in the humanities and a keen interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence with societal issues.

Lucy, a doctoral student at Charles University's Faculty of Humanities, specializes in historical sociology. Her research explores the evolution of European societies, focusing on long-term trends in criminal prosecutions, such as gender-specific crimes and witchcraft. She is particularly intrigued by how large language models can impact social structures and the state-citizen dynamic.

Karina, also a PhD student at Charles University, is the President of the Czech Society for Cognitive Science. Specializing in socio-cultural and medical anthropology, her work revolves around European healthcare systems and the application of AI in mental health. She's also an active member of the Czech Effective Altruism Association, where she addresses AI-related ethical considerations.

September 8, 2023: Talk on Democratizing Expertise via LLMs on ECPR General Conference

Petr Špecián presented a talk "Democratizing Expertise. The Limits and Possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in Enhancing Democratic Decision-Making" at the ECPR General Conference 2023.

He delved into the potential of integrating large language models (LLMs) like GPT-4 into democratic decision-making. While acknowledging their limitations, such as opacity and the potential for value imposition, he argued that these aren't necessarily more problematic than the shortcomings inherent in relying on human experts. If managed responsibly, LLMs could become a vital asset in democratizing expertise and thereby enhancing democratic processes.

June 2023: Newsletter "AI and Institutions"

We started a monthly newletter on AI and institutions that informs about the activities of our research group and other interesting developments in Czechia and abroad. Currently, the newsletter is available in Czech only, but if we indicate some interest, we will consider a multi-lingual edition as well. 

I you would like to subscribe or let us know about your preferences and interests, please drop us a line!

June 16, 2023: Conference Talk on Language Models for Democracy

Petr Špecián has presented a talk "Language Models for Democracy: Limits and Possibilities" at the Technology &  Sustainable Development 2023 conference at Østfold University College, Norway, investigating the potential of large language models to replace human experts as advisors to democratic assemblies.

The corresponding working paper is available here

November 2023: AI Institutional Transformation Workshop

We are organizing a workshop in late 2023 to showcase our research group's advancements, explore the current state of AI, and enjoy talks by renowned scholars. Stay tuned, specifics will be updated!

May 18-20, 2023: Interdisciplinary Conference on Fortifying Democracy for the Digital Age

Join us for an interdisciplinary academic conference exploring the impact of epistemic democratization on political democracy in today's digital era. The conference is held at Prague University of Economics and Business on May 18-20. The conference program is available here.

As traditional top-down information structures make way for social media platforms, we witness a revolutionary shift in how information is shared and consumed. This transformation brings both opportunities and risks for democratic societies.

The conference will foster a discussion on the relationship between political democracy and epistemic democratization, exploring how these concepts can align. We'll examine the workable avenues of epistemic democratization within various forms of political democracy, encouraging debate and exchange of ideas.

The conference is open to the public. For registration, please see here.

May 17, 2023: Coordination Meeting

Initial coordination meeting intended for those interested in the activities of our newly founded interdisciplinary research group. Held on May 17, 2023, 4 pm CET, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague. You may register for attendance here.